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"The University Days Wind Down"

It's almost over. I graduate so soon now. A friend of mine who graduates also is already missing the place. He doesn't want to think about having to leave because he had such a good time here. It's time to move on. Almost.

There are about five weeks left excluding finals, which basically consist of a lot of goofing off and a night of cramming before each final... The meat of the semester is over already and now we just get into the technicalities, the coasting into the end... So here's a little rundown of what's happened in my life academically.

First of all, I got a real cool bag. Hee hee, sold out now. Works great for school. Puts all those canvas bags most people have to shame!

My classes this semester are pretty cool. At this point in my college career I kind of wish I could've taken more languages (intro. level is just a nice way to get a feel for a language) and more linguistics courses. Oh well. Considering I got a lot of Latin, a little Greek and French, a little business, and even a little astronomy, I think I made out pretty well here.

My first class of the week is a writing course in the history and philosophy of astronomy. Our professor is one of the types who looks just like a stereotypical astronomy prof WOULD look like. You can tell a prof straight down almost to the exact branch of a department he specializes in in most cases. It's uncanny. Anyway, I think the prof has other things on his mind, because he just lectures in class and doesn't require any input from the students or anything. Maybe he's just resigned himself to the fact that normal students don't communicate well in class, or maybe he just believes in straight lecture courses. At any rate, he doesn't take attendance and he is pretty lenient about the four papers we have to write for the writing component of our class. I was kind of disappointed that we wouldn't cover more of eastern astronomy. But in writing my latest paper, which is on Matasaburou's early discoveries as a child within the context of Japanese astronomy as a whole, I realized that we don't cover it because the east didn't really do that much. It's kind of tragic that China and Japan were cut off from the rest of the world, and even then for the most part their governments would try to keep it that way.

I've been choosing weird topics for my papers that I didn't think anyone else would choose -- both for my prof's enjoyment and for mine. It's a good opportunity to research some different culture's exposure to astronomy. I've learned a lot that way. And that, I guess, is the goal.

So then I usually hit the computer lab on campus to check stocks for the hour in between classes. It's weird, you know. My first year, I would scribble music lyrics in the margins of my notebooks. In the next two or three years I'd scribble things about Anna. And just now, I've taken to drawing memorized stock charts and their points of resistance and support, their trendlines and western-style patterns, like some sort of obsessive mathematician who begins to see spirals in his coffee.

Then I have my state-required government II course. I got to choose the topic from a list of different government courses, so I chose Constitutional interp. I've always had an interest in law, but never so much as to study it seriously. I like principles and precedents, but don't like so much the idea of representing someone else or actually having to deal with the people who get involved in law. I've also always had an interest in the Constitution, and through this class I've come to respect it far, far more than I did in the past. It is a solid foundation to the United States of America and I must say it makes me feel a little more love for my mother country. Not bad for a little band of ragtags who left Britain, huh?

Our prof is tough. He taught at Harvard some while ago and is light on his feet in dismantling unwitting victims in our class. He'll push them and wait on them to answer, force them to change their answer when they were right in the first place. Scares the kids shitless, but he gets the job done. We learn that shit cold. The Socratic method he employs really tests our theories and opinions. He hasn't called on me yet.

I regret the time I chose to take my final class, second semester intro. French. I take it in the late afternoon, and by then I'm so wasted that I hardly have the energy for it. Anyway. Our teacher is a young woman from Montpelier in France, and so she identifies pretty well with us. Personally I think it helps when a teacher is close to your age. While perhaps the old school teaching style I came to get used to and maybe even like from the classics department is missing, having someone who likes the same arena of things you do helps you learn.

So she's chatty and encouraging and gets everyone to contribute in class when she can. She makes us use the language instead of just memorize things out of the book. I met her in the grocery store the other day, however, and she didn't remember a thing I'd written in my personal paragraphs for class. Gee, thanks. :P When I wrote a while ago about how some people don't seem to talk much but probably listen intently to everything they hear, and how others talk a lot and seem to be friendly but really don't process anything, she is who I am talking about. :P Me the former, she the latter. This is why when you're sitting across from your opponents at a table, you pay attention to the quiet ones, not the talkative ones. The quiet ones are probably going to be the ones who have your heart on a platter with a dagger through it before you even say hello.

And that's pretty much it as far as classes go. Most of my energies are put into extracurricular pursuits, as has always been the case throughout my schooling, so none of this is really a big deal. One thing that I picked up early on is how meaningless my GPA or scholastic achievement will be to me, so I shouldn't sweat it enough to let it hinder what I really want to do, like write or study companies or stock charts or web design or whatever it is.

Now, I have that paper to write for astronomy that's due tomorrow, plus I have a government midterm (interstate commerce clause, eep!), and also a small assignment for French class involving a song we had to listen to by Jean-Jacques Goldman. Cripes. Bad bad bad. Once I get through tomorrow, though, it'll be smooth sailing until finals come up. Oh, and taxes! Shit. The life of a college student.

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